This was written by my negotiations expert associate, David Palmer.
Personal Connection Edge
by David Palmer, PhD
Dozens of factors figure into your audience’s minds, whenever and whatever you’re teaching, communicating or selling. You create a competitive edge when you establish a personal connection. You must connect emotionally and intellectually with both individuals and members of an audience, so they like you and trust you . . . more than any other training they have received or sales person’s message they have heard. They’re just like you; if you don’t trust the messenger, you don’t trust the message.
How do you get the Personal Connection edge? Do the following:
• Focus: It’s all about them! If your presentation does not respond to their concerns and you grind on with a prepared presentation that is not focused on their concerns, or you are too technical for the individual or audience, they will decide that you don’t care about them or their problems. Once they get back to work, they won’t make your training applicable to their jobs, or invest in your solution to their problem. Rather, pick up on their concerns, and address them.
• Be Confident & Sincere: If you appear nervous or unsure, you may seem devious or incompetent.
• Eye Communication: Look your listeners right in the eyes for a complete thought or sentence as you talk convincingly about your ideas and information. Your eyes darting about the room is not connection or communication. Smile.
• Divide & Conquer: Shake hands with everyone . . . and look them in the eyes as you do it . . . when they enter the room. Connect with them so you see them as individuals. You’ll both feel more comfortable and you’ll become more memorable to them. (People are usually shyer in groups of strangers than one-on-one contacts.)
• Technology: Use technology to enhance your presentation, not drown it. It can help keep you on track, but it cannot establish trust.
• Keep It Simple & Memorable: When your listener or audience debriefs after your presentation or sales conversation, you want them to remember what you said more than they learned in other training; or in a selling situation more than another sales presentation. Therefore, summarize your key talking points into snappy sound bites that are easy to write and remember. Make them interesting and repeatable. What are the three to five key points you want them to remember about the information and you?
• Avoid Jargon: Steer clear of overdoing technical language and industry jargon. Rehearse your presentation well in advance with your spouse across the dinner table or a team member at work. If there is anything they don’t understand, you are not focusing on their interests, or you are making it too complicated. Your goal is to be understood and sound conversational as you do it.
• Tell Great Success Stories: People learn to resist a sales presentation, or they go to a meeting with a closed mind, but no one can resist a good story. “Imagine four months from now you go to work and…” Paint your listeners a picture of less frustration, more reliability, and cost-effectiveness. Let the person you are communicating with “see” themselves in a different light. Use the Situation, Solution, Success formula. Take a lesson from Hollywood. Give your stories interesting characters and dialogue, plus a dramatic lesson that your prospects can relate to.
• Rehearse: The first thirty seconds and the last thirty seconds of your presentation or sales conversation have the most impact. Invest your time to create something original and interesting at the beginning and at the end. Then, commit them to memory. Do not shortchange your rehearsals. Three to five rehearsals won’t do it. Thirty to fifty rehearsals put you ahead of other speakers or sales professionals and give you even more confidence. Know what you are going to say so well you can forget it!
• Bottom Line: Everything else being equal, you’re way ahead of any other speaker or sales professional when your audience of one or one thousand relates to you, likes you, and trusts you. Remember, they must first trust you before they can trust the message.
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“In my 12 years in sales and marketing, you are the most dynamic, charismatic, and knowledgeable sales presentation trainer and executive speech coach that I know. After your presentation skills training, both my sales and technical support team are closing more sales!”
– Bill Lewis, Director of Sales and Marketing, North America, Unitech America, Inc.
Executive Speech Coach and Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker Patricia Fripp works with individuals and companies who realize that powerful, persuasive presentation skills give them a competitive edge.